Sign in   |  Join   |  Help

Apple Lossless

rated by 0 users
Not Answered This post has 0 verified answers | 30 Replies | 1 Follower

BeoJosh
Top 500 Contributor
86 Posts
OFFLINE
Gold Member
BeoJosh posted on Mon, May 17 2021 9:24 PM

Apple today announced Apple Lossless for Apple Music, with Hi-Res up to 24/192, coming in June to 20m songs, with the rest of the 75m song catalog by the end of the year. Doubt it'll work over AP but reports say it will play on Apple TV. Details/specifics are still sparse, but I'm very curious to see how this might work--and sound--on our B&O equipment....

--
Beovision Harmony 77, Beovision Harmony 65 x2, Beovision Contour 48, LG GX 65/Beosound Stage/STB Stand
Beolab 50s, Beolab 28s, Beolab 18s x3, Beolab 19, Beoplay A9, Beosound Edge, Beosound 2 x2, Beosound 1 x2, Beosound Level x2, Beosound Core x2, Beoplay M3, Beosound 9000, Beogram TX2, Beogram 6500 White Edition, 4000c (on order), Beoremote One x8, Beoremote Halo x3, BLC NL/ML
Beoplay H95 x3, Beoplay EQ x2, Beoplay E8, Beoplay E8 Sport, Beosound A1 x2

All Replies

Frederik
Not Ranked
Belgium
34 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Frederik replied on Mon, May 17 2021 11:53 PM

As far as I know AirPlay already uses ALAC 44/16 which is lossless relative to CD quality. So in principle if you stream a lossless track at 44/16 to any AirPlay enabled B&O speaker you should experience "better" quality compared to the current 256 AAC. Better is however relative, most people cannot hear the difference, you can do an ABX test for yourself here: http://abx.digitalfeed.net/itunes.html

Regarding hi-res, with 44kHz sample rate you can represent signals up to 22kHz without any loss. Higher sample rates do not make sense for consumption because no-one hears higher tones. It does make sense for production however, because it gives you more editing headroom. It also makes sense for animals but only if your speakers can reproduce tones over 22kHz which is again uncommon. For bit depth it's a little bit more complicated, but again, most studies will show that there is no perceptual difference by increasing the bit depth over 16bit.

Headphones will not support lossless over Bluetooth. For the H95 I am not sure if it can decode ALAC wired.

Spatial audio converts multichannel audio to stereo in such a way that your ears will be tricked to experience motion and depth by introducing latency between left and right. From what I read so far, Apple will do this on the player side (Mac or iPhone) meaning that any headphone should be able to reproduce the effect.

Antonius Robin Iriawan
Not Ranked
Jakarta, Indonesia
80 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

BeoJosh:

Apple today announced Apple Lossless for Apple Music, with Hi-Res up to 24/192, coming in June to 20m songs, with the rest of the 75m song catalog by the end of the year. Doubt it'll work over AP but reports say it will play on Apple TV. Details/specifics are still sparse, but I'm very curious to see how this might work--and sound--on our B&O equipment....

I have been listening my lossless music through Airplay 2. My music files are in AIFF 16/44.1. So, I believe I could answer your question regarding sound quality.

So far, it sounds amazing. It sounds lively and music feels like it has a soul. However, I believe you will still get a better sound quality through a CD Plater or a turntable. Nevertheless, don't worry about the sound quality. 

Best Regards, Mit freundlichen Grüßen, 감사합니다
Antonius Robin Iriawan, 로빈 올림

Beosound 35, Beoplay H5, and Beoplay Earset 3i

BeoFrederic
Top 500 Contributor
248 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

As noted in the replies above, Airplay 2 supports streaming of FLAC & ALAC files at 16/44.1.  I believe resolution up to 24/48 is supported.  So any B&O speaker that supports AP2 should be able to playback 'Apple Music Lossless.'

However, I'm pretty sure that AP2 doesn't support any higher resolutions, so 'Apple Music Hi-Res Lossless' streaming is a non-starter for our non-wired B&O products.

This situation is problematic for Apple's own products. much less 3PP, leading me to believe that there's an 'Airplay 3' up ahead somewhere.  The WWDC is first week of June.

If AP2 is rev'ed, it will be interesting to see which B&O products will in turn be rev'ed to support it.  A developing story.

Barry Santini
Top 150 Contributor
New York
541 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
I cannot believe for a minute that 20 million songs have a recorded provenance beyond Redbook CD specifications.

Sure the songs may be delivered in a hi-res container. But the “candy” inside is still far less than the packaging suggests
Geoff Martin
Top 150 Contributor
Struer, Denmark
656 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Barry Santini:
I cannot believe for a minute that 20 million songs have a recorded provenance beyond Redbook CD specifications.

Sure the songs may be delivered in a hi-res container. But the “candy” inside is still far less than the packaging suggests

 

Years ago, Apple started recommending that masters submitted to them for iTunes release should be at 96/24. They also recommended that studios not simply upsample to do this.

This was the document they released back then, in case you're interested. Check the section on "Best Practices"

https://www.apple.com/itunes/docs/apple-digital-masters.pdf

Back then, there was also some hype in the professional audio world because it was hoped that Apple would end the "loudness wars" since they were actively standardizing things like mastering levels for their own distribution.

So, since that time, studios that did record at higher sampling rates and bit depths have had the possibility of submitting materials at the original resolution to what we used to call iTunes. This means that Apple has been amassing a catalogue for years...

 

So, it's incorrect to automatically assume that the candy isn't what's advertised on the wrapper. However, it's also incorrect to assume that it is. There's nothing stopping a studio from upsampling (either using software or going through a DAC->ADC if they're old-fashioned) to arrive at a higher "resolution" - and no one would know the difference without some serious analysis tools and some intelligence behind the interpretation of the results.

 

On the other hand, most studios are recording at at least 96/24 or higher - and have been for years (remember that the CD Redbook format is about to turn 40). I was doing recording sessions 25 years ago where we were laying down the tracks at 96 kHz, but sending the 44.1 kHz masters to the label for CD release. (This is/was standard practice.) So the masters have been sitting out there, waiting for the distribution channels to catch up. The labels have the program material, the consumers have the equipment to play it back - now the pipes to connect the two are (finally) becoming available.

 

HOWEVER:

IF you use a streaming service (like Qobuz, for example)
and IF you use a player that displays the track's technical information (like Audirvana, for example)
THEN you'll see that some tracks are redbook (like Jennifer Warnes's Bird on a Wire, which is 44.1/16, for example) and some are higher resolution (like K.D. Lang's Bird on a Wire, which is 192/24, for example).

On the other hand

IF you use another streaming service (like Tidal, for example)
and IF you use the same player that displays the track's technical information (like Audirvana, for example)
THEN you'll see that some tracks are lower resolution (like The King's Singers's "Always a Woman" which is is 22.01/16-bit AAC, for example). Note that this is the Label's fault - not Tidal's - they just stream what they get.

So, one "Redbook" recording is being distributed as such. One "Redbook" recording is being distributed as a lower quality. And maybe the high res stuff could actually be a high res original...

 

And just to head things off at the pass... I'm not going to enter a debate about whether "High Resolution" means "Better".
This is a VERY complicated discussion that is rife with religious beliefs. However, "I can't hear above xx kHz" is not a reason to dismiss higher sampling rates and "I live in a noisy house" is not a reason to dismiss wider bit depths - just in case anyone was loading up their argument ammunition...

Cheers
-geoff

laseralex
Top 500 Contributor
230 Posts
OFFLINE
Gold Member

Geoff Martin:
(remember that the CD Redbook format is about to turn 40)

I'd feel much better if we could all just pretend it's turning 20!

Sad

Sources: 2x Beosound Moment • 4x Beosound Essence Mk II
Speakers: 3x Beolab 8000 • 2x Beolab 6000 • 2x Beolab 3 • 3x Beolab 2
Integrated:  1x Beosound 2 • 1x Beosound Level • 4x BeoPlay M5 • 1x BeoPlay A6
Control:  16x* Essence Remote  • 1x Beoremote Halo

* Yes, really! 🤦‍♂️

Frederik
Not Ranked
Belgium
34 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Geoff Martin:

And just to head things off at the pass... I'm not going to enter a debate about whether "High Resolution" means "Better".
This is a VERY complicated discussion that is rife with religious beliefs. However, "I can't hear above xx kHz" is not a reason to dismiss higher sampling rates and "I live in a noisy house" is not a reason to dismiss wider bit depths - just in case anyone was loading up their argument ammunition...

Hi Geoff,

I am sorry because you said you will not enter the debate about hi-res. However, I am very interested to hear your perspective on some elements.

First of all some background I am sure are very well aware of, but just for reference to put things in context:

- The sample rate determines the maximum frequency you can represent. A digital signal is a discrete (made up of samples) representation of a continues signal (waves). To reconstruct a sinus wave you need exactly two samples. This means that the maximum frequency you can reconstruct equals half the sample rate. This reconstruction is exact and not an approximation (for that specific frequency). In other words, with a sample rate of 44.1 we can accuratly reconstruct signals up to 22kHz (well above the limit of human hearring).

- The dynamic range determines the number of different volume levels you can represent. With 16bit you can represent a dynamic range of approximatly 90dB. Nevertheless, this is not an exact approximation, there are quantization artefacts in play.

In conclusion, there are arguments why there could be a perceptual difference with an increased dynamic range. For production it also makes sense to work with an increased sample rate to give addtional headroom to compensate for editing artefacts, transcoding etc. However, for playback I don't see the added value to increase the sample rate. I know that some speakers can reproduce higher frequencies (I think 90s and 50s can go over 40kHz?) but our brains will not pick up these signals anyway.

In short, I am just very interested to hear your perspective on this matter from a scientific (signal processing) point of view.

mbee
Top 75 Contributor
Paris, France
1,823 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
mbee replied on Thu, May 20 2021 10:57 AM

laseralex:
I'd feel much better if we could all just pretend it's turning 20!

One thing is sure in audiophile territory: the more you have money available to spend on high end speakers, the less your ears are able to hear the difference, just because you are getting older...Stick out tongue

BeoJosh
Top 500 Contributor
86 Posts
OFFLINE
Gold Member

In posting this announcement, I didn't mean to start a discussion as to whether Hi-Res is better or not, but simply to see how we might utilize this new format from Apple on our B&O systems for those who wish to.

I'm using Deezer Hi-Fi (FLAC) on my systems and have been quite happy with it (and, to my ears, it sounds better than Apple Music via AP, which is why I use it), but have been intrigued by the idea of Tidal Masters/QoBuz/Roon, etc. I haven't gone down that road because I want to keep my system as simple as possible, and I haven't been convinced it'd be worth the expense/hassle.

But with a pair of 50s on order that are capable of 24/192 and for my 28s on order, as well as my current 18s, all of which are capable of 24/96, I thought this development might make it easier to play Hi-Res should I choose to, since all the speakers will be connected to a BV with an Apple TV as a source.

The release says Apple TV can play Hi-Res natively, but there's no info about how the Apple TV outputs that to another system--ie whether it outputs via HDMI or whether some sort of DAC would be required. What's also unclear to me (and perhaps others here know) is whether the BV can output or pass along 24/192 to the 50s from the Apple TV, or whether I'd have to get another Apple TV and hook it up directly to the 50s to play Hi-Res Lossless.

I guess we'll have to wait and see!

--
Beovision Harmony 77, Beovision Harmony 65 x2, Beovision Contour 48, LG GX 65/Beosound Stage/STB Stand
Beolab 50s, Beolab 28s, Beolab 18s x3, Beolab 19, Beoplay A9, Beosound Edge, Beosound 2 x2, Beosound 1 x2, Beosound Level x2, Beosound Core x2, Beoplay M3, Beosound 9000, Beogram TX2, Beogram 6500 White Edition, 4000c (on order), Beoremote One x8, Beoremote Halo x3, BLC NL/ML
Beoplay H95 x3, Beoplay EQ x2, Beoplay E8, Beoplay E8 Sport, Beosound A1 x2

mbee
Top 75 Contributor
Paris, France
1,823 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
mbee replied on Thu, May 20 2021 7:58 PM

The Apple TV seems like a nice solution to stream Apple Lossless but I’ve never experienced a nice audio quality on mine because it was fixed at 48kHz and my files are usually 44kHz. Maybe that has changed, or maybe there will be a lot of 48kHz files…

Sandyb
Top 50 Contributor
2,126 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member
Sandyb replied on Thu, May 20 2021 10:51 PM
I wonder if the Apple Music app (phone, tablet or ATV) will show the resolution of what is playing?

My guess is no, but It would be nice if they did as Qobuz and Roon do.

Not sure exactly how you currently listen to music / Deezer Hifi - i.e whether thats using speakers with native Deezer or whether you Airplay it.

That said, the Apple TV will grab the higher rate stream from Apple Music, and as long as your ATV is set to output uncompressed LPCM (which i think is the standard setting), you should be fine going through and out of a BV.

But i dont think the Apple Music app will tell you on screen information about the specific stream.

Geoff Martin
Top 150 Contributor
Struer, Denmark
656 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Hi Frederik,

Regarding your sampling rate question: I'll write up a blog posting on my website to discuss this. It's too long to put here, and I need to make a bunch of graphs in Matlab first... However, this mistake that most people make is to assume that the only reason to have a higher sampling rate is to have a higher frequency bandwidth with some link to the limits of human hearing - that link is only one of many arguments for and against high sampling rates. It's the easiest one to explain and understand, but possibly the least relevant...

Regarding your bit depth statement: it's standard to use TPDF dither on LPCM signals, so there is no quantisation error on the signal. The quantisation error is randomised and turned into a program-independent noise floor at 6*nbits+3 dB below the maximum possible signal level. So, for example, in the case of 16-bit LPCM, the white noise from the dither is 93 dB below the level of a full-scale sine wave.

HOWEVER (as one example) if you have a 16-bit recording played through a 16-bit DAC to an analogue volume control set so that the sound pressure level of a full-scale sine wave is, say 50 dB SPL (which is a good guess of the level of the radio in the background as I type this on a Saturday morning while half of the house is still sleeping...) then the noise floor is 50 dB  - 93 dB = -43 dB SPL, which is much quieter than the noise of the fridge compressor...

HOWEVER, if I play a recording like the "Banditen-Gallopp" from Telarc's "Straussfest" cd, and I connect the digital output of the CD player to the digital input of a pair of Beolab 90s, and I turn the volume up to maximum, then the spike from the gun firing is going to hit a theoretical 122 dB SPL. This means that the noise floor of the 16-bit recording is 122 - 93 = 29 dB SPL, which is easily audible in the listening room. The 16-bit TPDF noise floor is the weakest link in this particular chain.

And yes, I play that track at that volume level often. It's an excellent demo of dynamic range, the spikes hit maximum - but they're so far above the RMS and they're so short in duration, that there's no harm done to anyone or anything.

cheers

-geoff

Geoff Martin
Top 150 Contributor
Struer, Denmark
656 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

laseralex:

Geoff Martin:
(remember that the CD Redbook format is about to turn 40)

I'd feel much better if we could all just pretend it's turning 20!

Sad

The first LP record was introduced in 1948.

The first CD was released in 1983 - 35 years later.

Now it's 2021 - 38 years later - and we think it's news when a streaming service announces that it can deliver CD quality.

Then again, cargo pants are back in fashion according to my son, so I shouldn't be surprised. Time to put away my 78s to make room for the cassette collection coming out of storage. It'll be interesting to hear Falco again after all these years... Rock me Amadeus...

Cheers

-geoff

Frederik
Not Ranked
Belgium
34 Posts
OFFLINE
Bronze Member

Hi Geoff,

Thank you very much for you response, I am looking forward to your blog post!

Also a word of appreciation for your blog in general, you provide some excellent material. I regularly refer my students to some of your articles.

All the best,
Frederik 

Page 1 of 3 (31 items) 1 2 3 Next > | RSS
Beoworld Security Certificate

SSL